After Vote, Hockey East Sticking With 11-Team Playoff Format For 2017-18
Hockey East members voted on Monday to uphold the planned 11-team playoff format for the 2017-18 season. There was consideration of changing the format back to an eight-team playoff, which would eliminate three teams in the regular season and nullify the need for a “first round” weekend.
Financial impact on the league resulting in lost revenue was the main sticking point, according to multiple sources. Eliminating the first round would likely cost the league at least $150,000 in lost ticket revenue. Schools are mandated to provide the league with a minimum ticket gate per game for playoffs, regardless of tickets sold.
Under the current format, teams that finish 1-5 in the regular-season standings will receive a bye in the first round. No. 6 will host No. 11, No. 7 will host No. 10 and No. 8 will host No. 9, all in best-of-three series. Those three winners will advance to the quarterfinals and play seeds 1, 2 and 3, with matchups determined by which teams advance. No. 4 will host No. 5 in the quarterfinal round, regardless of first-round results.
League members will reconsider the playoff format for 2018-19 and beyond at a later date.